Never Alone

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Yesterday morning, I was excited to worship with my family in our living room. It was 10am and I was prayed-up, had my Bible turned to the passage at hand, and my note pad was ready to receive eternal truth. I had never experienced LiveStream worship, but yesterday our Associate Pastor was preaching. Only seven people were allowed on our church campus to implement our worship plan, so my presence was not needed. I anticipated singing all the songs, standing to read the Scripture, and hearing a powerful word from Pastor Luke. I planned to culminate my glorious experience by writing a blog. And then the train jumped the track. 

The picture on our TV screen was pixelating to form bizarre and distorted images. The music and teaching was frozen more often than it was flowing. The stage was too dark and the words to the songs were unreadable. Instead of high and lofty truth, my sermon notebook filled with questions about what had gone wrong. People checked in, but soon logged out. Not at all what I had expected or hoped for.

In 1785, the Scottish poet Robert Burns turned up a mouse’s nest with his plough, and proceeded to write a poem of apology to her. In the original version, the line he wrote said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley,” (or often go awry). In other words, no matter how carefully we plan and practice, our efforts may still result in “grief and pain” instead of the joy we’d hoped for. Sometimes our plan turns out as we’d hoped, and other times our nest gets turned up by a plough. And this, too, is in God’s strong hands.

After the confusion and momentary desperation dissipated, I prayed and asked God the “now what” question. My daughter spoke strength into my life by reminding me of our church’s love for one another. “They’ll be back,” she encouraged me. I felt more assured that our plans and God’s plans are not always the same, but He always intends good for us.

The same afternoon, I had a Zoom conference with our worship leader and our most gifted tech nerds. I had the least to contribute in the conversation – only questions clarified by six leaders who speak tech. My study of Greek and Hebrew would not be helpful in this conversation. 

The seven of us laughed about the way our plans had gone awry. And we discussed ways we can work to insure these same glitches will never happen again. We were even bold enough to lay another set of plans that might go awry. And we all felt the love and encouragement of the Body of Christ. And the unity of the Holy Spirit right there in the middle of Zooming!

Will next week flow more smoothly in cyberspace? I hope so. But even if it doesn’t, we don’t intend to give up trying. The joy, you see, is not in the perfection of implementing our plans. The joy is found in loving God, one another, and giving our best effort to glorify God. And then giving Him wholehearted praise and worship if our nest gets turned up by a plough.

We know the power and joy of abiding in Christ. We have placed our trust in Jesus and are never alone.


Pastor Steve


2 thoughts on “Never Alone”

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